Logical Positivis

Discipline: Philosophy

A 20th century development of positivism which emphasizes questions of language and meaning and the role of logical relations like entailment.

It originated in the Vienna Circle and continued mainly in English-speaking countries (with Holland and Scandinavia) until World War II, after which it was replaced by linguistic philosophy in Britain and various movements in the USA and elsewhere.

Its central tenet is the verifiability principle, which in turn has its roots in David Hume's (1711-1776) distinction - in the last paragraph of his An Enquiry Concerning Human Understanding (1748) - between 'abstract reasoning concerning quantity or number' and 'experimental reasoning concerning matter of fact and existence', all else being 'sophistry and illusion'.

A J Ayer, ed., Logical Positivism (1959)


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